ISLANDERS walking through rural Grouville over the last few days may have been mistaken for thinking there had been a mass escape from Jersey Zoo after a flock of 13 rare and unique-looking birds touched down.
The glossy ibis are thought to have arrived from Spain and have reportedly been making their way progressively northwards in recent years.
Their arrival has caused quite a stir, with one wildlife photographer, Romano da Costa, saying that there had been around 20 people in the area trying to catch a glimpse of the flock in recent days.
Mr da Costa said: ‘Including this one, this is the eighth individual record of them [in Jersey], so it’s pretty rare. Before last year there were only two previous records of them but they are a species which are expanding northwards into Europe, so we are expecting to see more over time – but not the numbers we have seen in recent weeks.
‘A few of them arrived wearing [leg] rings from Spain and it is more than likely that they have all come from the same area. Whether it is food-related or part of a natural movement it is hard to tell. It has not happened before.’
He added: ‘They will move off again – they might only stay for a day or a week or they could end up spending the rest of the winter here until spring. It is all food dependent and, as long as they are finding food, they should stay.
‘We have seen it over the years with some other birds.
‘They are following the same pattern as cattle egrets. It started as just one or two each year but we are now seeing as many as 50 or 60 within a single day. Before that it was little egrets.’